The Pennsylvania departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) today urged Pennsylvanians to use Find My Ride (FMR) to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs. More than 12,500 Pennsylvanians have been approved for services since FMR launched in May 2021.
Public transportation services are available in every county in Pennsylvania, including:
- Shared ride service in all 67 counties;
- Fixed route bus service in 49 counties; and
- Fixed route rail service in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
“We’re pleased that so many Pennsylvanians have been connected to these important services and we encourage more to apply,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Transit provides a vital connection to jobs, to medical appointments, and to our communities.”
Citizens are encouraged to use FMR Apply, an online tool which was developed collaboratively with transit agencies and streamlines the application process for eight transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA complementary paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities program; the Free Transit Program; Area Agency on Aging funded trips for people 60-64, fixed route half/reduced fare for persons with disabilities, and discounted shared ride service for veterans. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third-parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to apply for services on behalf of a rider.
Collectively, 24.4 million trips supported by these programs were provided to Pennsylvanians in the 2020-21 fiscal year. An additional 141 million trips – including 17.7 million free senior trips – were provided through fixed route service in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Since the rollout of FMR Apply in May 2021 via transit agencies, it’s easier for the public to access these programs. Customers do not need to determine what programs they are eligible for, and this, coupled with the user-friendly application, has resulted in increased applications. Automatic data validation within the application has resulted in improved data accuracy, saving transit agencies time and money in processing applications. Transit agencies can process applications more efficiently, which allows transit users to access benefits faster.
“Find My Ride is an excellent example of collaboration between state agencies, and we encourage anyone who may need transportation services to use this too. Nobody should let a lack of transportation keep you from getting to a doctor’s appointment or filling your prescription,” said DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead.
DHS’ MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP has funded more than 15 million trips since 2019, and each county provides the type of transportation that is the least expensive while still meeting an individual’s needs.
Find My Ride’s education and application modules were developed over two years, made possible by $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and $1 million in state transit funding. In June 2022, additional FTA funds were awarded through a program that was expanded under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The new FTA funds will allow for the expansion of upgrades of FMR to simplify the public’s access to the tool as well as streamline processes for healthcare providers and MATP administrators. Some examples of enhancements to the system supported by these new grant funds include:
- Allowing consumers to request fixed route and mileage reimbursement assistance directly via FMR and give them the option of having reimbursements transmitted directly to their bank account;
- Creating an interface between FMR and DHS’s PROMISe system, which will allow MATP administrators to verify a consumer’s MATP eligibility automatically;
- Allowing MATP administrators to issue fixed route tickets and passes directly to a consumer’s mobile ticketing app; and
- Giving health care providers a means to verify a visit occurred using the system.